Independent MPP Randy Hillier will not be recognized in the Ontario legislature until he apologizes for his inflammatory social media posts as well as for “racist and discriminatory statements” against a federal cabinet minister.
The motion, passed Tuesday at Queen’s Park — the first day of the last sitting of the house before the June 2 election — was proposed by the Ford government and states that “this House expresses its disapproval of, and dissociates itself from, continued disreputable conduct by the Member for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, most specifically his use of social media to make racist and discriminatory statements about a federal cabinet minister and for publishing social media posts insinuating a call to violence.”
The motion demands that Hillier — who was kicked out of the Conservative caucus in 2019 and has spoken out against lockdowns and mask mandates during the pandemic — “make written apologies for his behaviour to the Hon. Omar Alghabra … and to this House, by way of the speaker, and publish his written apologies and desist from further conduct that is inappropriate and unbecoming of a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.”
The motion means Hillier can be in the legislature, but won’t be allowed to speak or ask questions until he apologizes.
On Tuesday, Ottawa Centre New Democrat MPP Joel Harden also began the process of seeking an investigation by the province’s integrity commissioner into one of Hillier’s recent tweets.
On Feb. 19, the Ottawa police asked people, via Twitter, to “stop calling critical emergency and operational phone lines to express displeasure about the police action” as convoy protesters were being cleared out of the capital after a three-week occupation.
Hillier then tweeted “Keep calling in a democracy expressing yourself is a fundamental freedom #FreedomConvoy2022.”
“It is a cornerstone of our society that people can exercise the right to protest,” Harden wrote. “What is unacceptable are attempts to endanger public safety, and that is precisely what MPP Hillier has done in this instance. I shudder to think about the impact of a first responder diverted from an actual emergency by a vexatious 911 call.”
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said Tuesday during question period that she regrets “that a member of this parliamentary legislature was encouraging people to block 911 calls.”
Via text message, Hillier told the Star that “there was no mention of 911” in his tweets, and that “I don’t generally apologize for other people’s mistakes or wrongful attributions.”
The NDP has already sent several letters to the integrity commissioner to look into Hillier’s conduct during the pandemic, including an incident where Hillier posted photos and information about Ontarians who he falsely claimed died from COVID vaccines. That complaint is being investigated.
Hillier was censured by MPPs of all parties last October for “a string of disreputable conduct.”
In January, opposition parties began calling for tougher sanctions against Hillier, who called Alghabra, who is Muslim, a “terrorist” on Twitter.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Anyone can read Conversations, but to contribute, you should be registered Torstar account holder. If you do not yet have a Torstar account, you can create one now (it is free)
Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the
Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.